The term process server is one that those in the legal industry Process servers know all about, and those outside of the legal industry probably have little to no knowledge of. There are a lot of misconceptions about what they actually do and what is required of them on a daily basis.
A brief history
To begin to explain what a modern-day process server does, let’s first start with a little history of how and why they are needed. First, service of due process is a right set forth by the Constitution. This means that all citizens of the United States have the right to be notified of being summoned, these laws are outlined in the fifth and sixth amendments of the Constitution.
Process servers were created as a messenger service to inform people of their constitutional right to due process of law by “serving” them with a notice that states the legal matter that involves them directly. Originally, legal documents were typically served to individuals by their local county sheriff. As cities grew in the United States it became a daunting task for local sheriffs to deliver court papers while attending to legal matters in their jurisdiction. There was a need for someone to deliver these papers legally and in a timely manner; therefore, servers were created.
What does a process server do?
Process servers are involved in a variety of tasks such as filing court papers, serving legal documents and document retrieval. Their main task is to deliver or “serve” legal documents to a defendant or person involved in a court case. After serving any legal documents, servers must present tangible evidence that the legal papers were served. The evidence that is presented is called an affidavit of service or proof of service, which must be notarized and given to the individual or company who requested the papers to be served. Process servers are legally obligated to serve papers in the proper manner outlined by their state. Service of process laws vary by state, so each individual servers may have a different way of doing things.
Why is service of process important?
Service of process is important for many reasons, but the main reason is to ensure that the due process of law is upheld in United States. Another reason process servers are an important part of civil society is to ensure that legal papers are served in an efficient and proper manner. If papers aren’t served correctly, the court cannot rule on a case involving an individual if they were not legally made aware of it. If service is found to be insufficient, the entire case may be thrown out. This makes it even more important to know the laws of your state regarding the correct way to serve a defendant legally.